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  1. #1
    MembersZone Subscriber jsdobson's Avatar
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    Unhappy Can't remember the name of.....

    what folks back east call a residence filled with trash and newspapers. There was a thread about this several months ago but I was not successful in my search.

    Thank you for the feed back.
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  2. #2
    MembersZone Subscriber dmleblanc's Avatar
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    It's known as a "Collyer's Mansion".....I'll see if I can find a link to the thread.....There's an interesting story behind it....
    Chief Dwayne LeBlanc
    Paincourtville Volunteer Fire Department
    Paincourtville, LA

    "I have a dream. It's not a big dream, it's just a little dream. My dream — and I hope you don't find this too crazy — is that I would like the people of this community to feel that if, God forbid, there were a fire, calling the fire department would actually be a wise thing to do. You can't have people, if their houses are burning down, saying, 'Whatever you do, don't call the fire department!' That would be bad."
    — C.D. Bales, "Roxanne"

  3. #3
    MembersZone Subscriber dmleblanc's Avatar
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    Here's the story....


    Published: October 26, 2003



    My father never had much use for fairy tales. The fifth of five brothers raised in a one-bedroom tenement on the Lower East Side, he preferred real-life grotesqueries. And so at bedtime, I would listen raptly to his urban horror stories, tales that filled the dark with chimera, bogeymen, golems.

    The most macabre was the tale of the Collyer Brothers, the hermit hoarders of Harlem. In lugubrious tones not unlike Boris Karloff's, my father described the vague aura of evil that had endowed the four-story brownstone on the northwest corner of Fifth Avenue and 128th Street for much of the 1930's and 40's. It was there, barricaded in a sanctuary of junk, that the blind and bedridden Homer Collyer lived with his devoted younger brother, Langley, the elderly scions of an upper-class Manhattan family.

    And it was there that they amassed one of the world's legendary collections of urban junk, a collection so extraordinary that their accomplishment, such as it was, came to represent the ultimate New York cautionary tale.

    The Collyer brothers' saga confirms a New Yorker's worst nightmare: crumpled people living in crumpled rooms with their crumpled possessions, the crowded chaos of the city refracted in their homes. It's not that Gothamites hoard more than other people; it's that they have less room to hoard in.

    Even now, after more than a half century, the Collyer name still resonates. New York City firefighters refer to an emergency call to a junk-jammed apartment as a "Collyer." The brothers are recalled whenever a recluse dies amid an accumulation of junk; as a middle-aged woman snapped at her parents in a Roz Chast cartoon in a recent issue of The New Yorker: "You guys never throw anything out! You're starting to live like the COLLYER BROTHERS."

    The elderly Collyers were well-to-do sons of a prominent Manhattan gynecologist and an opera singer. Homer had been Phi Beta Kappa at Columbia, where he earned his degree in admiralty law. Langley was a pianist who had performed at Carnegie Hall.

    The brothers had moved to Harlem in 1909 when they were in their 20's and the neighborhood was a fashionable, and white, suburb of Manhattan. They became more and more reclusive as the neighborhood went shabby on them, booby-trapping their home with midnight street pickings and turning it into a sealed fortress of ephemera, 180 tons of it by the end. Children chucked rocks at their windows and called them "ghosty men."

    My father recounted in great detail the rotting decadence of what had been a Victorian showplace. The Collyers had carved a network out of the neck-deep rubble. Within the winding warrens were tattered toys and chipped chandeliers, broken baby carriages and smashed baby grands, crushed violins and cracked mantel clocks, moldering hope chests crammed with monogrammed linen.

    Homer went blind in the mid-30's and was crippled by rheumatism in 1940. His brother nursed him, washed him, fed him a hundred oranges a week in a bizarre attempt to cure his blindness and saved newspapers for him to read when he regained his sight. Hundreds of thousands of newspapers.

    Langley was buried in an avalanche of rubbish in 1947 when he tripped one of his elaborate booby traps while bringing Homer dinner. Thanks to my father, I knew all the particulars: how Homer had starved to death, how Langley's body had been gnawed by rats, how the police had searched the city for Langley for nearly three weeks while he lay entombed in the debris of his own house. To my 7-year-old ears, the cruel twist was deliciously gruesome: Homer and Langley had been killed by the very bulwarks they had raised to keep the world out of their lives.

    The shadowy world of Homer and Langley was resurrected this month in an exhibition at the Inquiring Mind Gallery in Saugerties, N.Y. In this show, Richard Finkelstein, a Manhattan painter, has reimagined the brothers' lives in 17 black and white drawings called "Love and Squalor on 128th Street." One sketch depicts the brothers dancing in the debris before an audience of female mannequins, the women in their lives.
    Chief Dwayne LeBlanc
    Paincourtville Volunteer Fire Department
    Paincourtville, LA

    "I have a dream. It's not a big dream, it's just a little dream. My dream — and I hope you don't find this too crazy — is that I would like the people of this community to feel that if, God forbid, there were a fire, calling the fire department would actually be a wise thing to do. You can't have people, if their houses are burning down, saying, 'Whatever you do, don't call the fire department!' That would be bad."
    — C.D. Bales, "Roxanne"

  4. #4
    MembersZone Subscriber jsdobson's Avatar
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    Smile

    Thank you.
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    Before Everything, Stop And First Evaluate

  5. #5
    District Chief distchief60b's Avatar
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    I just call it a dump! We had one of these house in my old town. It was filled with stuff and tthe halways and stairs were lines with piles of newspapers stacked 5-6 feet high in piles side by side, making the halways almost so that you had to turn sideways to walk.

    We ended up having a fire there and it was a fatal fire. During the overhaul and investigation, we found envelopes with thousands of dollars sealed in them and strategically locates with just the corner of the envelop visible out of the newpaper pile.
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  6. #6
    55 Years & Still Rolling hwoods's Avatar
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    Talking Yep!!.........................

    Every town has one. In our case, it's the Fire Station.... Well, OK, maybe not, but there are days......... Actually, we had a Fire (Thankfully, it was minor) in one of these, a couple of years ago. There was a case a few months ago, next County over from us, where a newspaper delivery guy heard a faint cry at one of his stops, and found an elderly person under a collapsed pile of junk. He called 911, and help was quick and adequate, and as a side note, FireRescue called in Social Services, who got help for the person right away.
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  7. #7
    MembersZone Subscriber Firefighter1219's Avatar
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    I had a call to a house like that a few weeks ago. It was a beautiful southern mansion, probably at least 100 years old. I knew what we were facing when I saw a plate full of rotten food for the cats while walking up the steps to the house.

    When we got inside, we found an old lady laying in a puddle of rotten meat liquid. Apparently they were cleaning out the refrigator and she slipped in the liquid. The entire contents of the rergiator were rotten and all over the kitchen floor. We had to scoop her up out of the crap and somehow didn't manage to slip in it and get it all over us. The intire house was pretty much as crappy as the kitchen.
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